Nolim is a human animal planet. The JoiVons already have enough humans on their spaceship.
“Our Collection of Animals”
A Short Story
Cyton stood with his flat paw fingers clasped behind his back looking at a large monitor in front of him. A monitor that showed a planet they were getting closer to by the second. When the planet covered the monitor Cyton said, “Slow to a stop. Standard distance of twenty-five thousand should be close enough.”
A few seconds later Cyton jerked a little as they came to a stop. Cyton looked up at what appeared to be a sitting cat looking Alien on the upper level of that room. “Peec, what do we know about this planet so far?”
Peec kept her eyes on the control panel and small monitor in front of her. “From the Orbitals in orbit around it, it would appear that Nolim is another populated planet.”
“How populated is it?” Cyton asked.
“We don’t know how many Nolims there are there,” answered Peec. “Long range scans couldn’t penetrate to their surface.”
Cyton returned looking up at Nolim. “How far did we penetrate?”
Peec was now looking at Cyton. “We just got passed their cloud-covered sky.”
Returning to his single chair in the middle-level Cyton sighed. “What else don’t we know about this planet?”
“There is very little we know about it,” said Peec. “An invisible force field of some kind surrounding it is preventing are scans from getting through.”
Cyton quickly looked at Peec in shock. “A force field! That could be a problem. We don’t know what kind of defenses they have against us.”
“Any indication that they know we are here?” Cyton asked.
Peec looked at her control panel before she answered Cyton. “It doesn’t look they have.”
Cyton swivels toward another male who appeared to be a seated dog looking Alien, also on the higher level. “Hoft, what about communications? Have they tried to contact us?”
“Nothing, yet. I’ve been monitoring all of their communications, and they haven’t tried anything so far.”
“At least that’s something good to hear,” said Cyton. Cyton didn’t say anything for several minutes. Then he slowly scanned the others there as he continued. “I think we need to know more about Nolim before we do anything else.”
Everyone stood and faced Cyton as he entered. They turned in their swivel chairs to watch the multitude of small monitors in front of them as Cyton walked up behind them. All six of them, two more female cats and two other male dogs, had four rows of five monitors each to observe. Cyton looked at the monitors that each had a different part of Nolim on it.
“I see we have strengthened our scanner so that we can get through Nolim’s force field,” said Cyton. “What else have you discovered about it?”
Peec spoke first without taking her eyes off her monitors. “We’ve only been doing this for a few hours, but we have already learned a lot about Nolim.”
A few seconds later Peec continued. “We thought it might be hard to get through that force field, but it wasn’t. Once we realized we had already gotten through it a little all we had to do is increase the scan enough to get all the way through it. It only took us a few hours to set up Observation.”
Cyton sighed as he pointed at the monitors. “I can see that.” He didn’t say anything for several minutes. “Why are you trying not to tell me about what is going on here?”
The others there looked at one another for a few minutes. They spoke low enough that Cyton couldn’t hear them. It was Hoft who spoke first. “It’s a heavily populated planet. They are also very advanced too.”
“Advance enough to be a threat to us?” Cyton asked.
Peec answered first. “We don’t think so.”
“What else don’t you want me to know?” Cyton asked.
Hoft sighed. “The population is human.”
“Human animals, we already have enough of them on our spaceship. We don’t need anymore,” said Cyton.
Cyton looked at each one of the others before he spoke. “There is no reason for us to be here anymore. Lets leave.” A few seconds later he smiled. “Maybe there is a reason for us to stay here after all.”
Command Living Quarters
“Koril, are you here?” Cyton asked as he entered.
A few seconds later Koril came running into that room and jumped into Cyton’s arms. “I’m here. Why did you want me to be here?”
“I have a question to ask you,” said Cyton. “Are you still interested in having a pet of your own?”
“Well, let’s see. I’m ten,” said Koril. “I have been talking since I was about two. So, that means I’ve been asking you for a pet for eight years now.”
“Are you still interested in a human pet?” Cyton asked as he put down Koril.
“Of course, I am. There are no other pets besides humans,” said Koril. “Some of the other Alien Races aren’t too violent, but most of them are.”
Cyton sat down in a chair next to the chair where Koril now sat. “A lot of the human animals are violent too.”
“Most of them aren’t, especially the young ones.” A few seconds later Koril continued. “Why are you asking me if I want a pet? Does that mean you’re going to get me one?”
“I think about it every time you bring it up,” said Cyton. “Which you do daily. Today is different, though. When I found out that the planet we are watching is full of human animals, I thought about you.”
Koril smiled as she jumps up. Then she jumped into Cyton’s lap and hugged him. “Does that mean I’m going to be getting my first pet. Most of the other young ones my age from our home planet of JoiVon has a pet. I didn’t think I would ever get one of my own.”
“I’m thinking about it.” Cyton hugged her back. Then he helps her off his lap. She stands before him. “If I do decide to let you have one, what kind of a pet do you want?”
“I never thought that you would ever get me a pet since you haven’t yet.” Koril started walking around the room. “So, I haven’t really thought about it too much.”
Koril walked around for about a minute without saying anything. Suddenly she turned to face Cyton. “I know what kind of a pet that I want: a human male about my age.”
Cyton leaned forward to come face to face with Koril. “I don’t think that’s a good idea. Right now, he might be okay as a pet, but in a few years, he will probably be a big problem. They can be very aggressive during those years.”
“Yuck,” said Koril. “You think I want to breed with him. It’s bad enough that we do it with your kind.”
A few seconds later she continued. “I’m not interested in a Helper Human either. What I want is a pet I can play with and hug a lot. I also want one who will sleep at the end of my sleeper.”
For about a minute Cyton didn’t say anything. Then he sighed. “I still don’t like it, but if that’s what you want that’s what you are going to get.”
Koril sat behind a large information monitor that had four smaller monitors beside it. One on each side of the large monitor with one on top of the small ones. On the large one strings of words kept appearing on it one string at a time. The smaller one flashed images of male young ones on them. Koril looked up at the large monitor as she kept tapping away at the control panel in front of her.
Cyton stood right behind her. He also was looking at the large monitor, but he was also looking at the image monitors too every time a new image appeared. “You have been looking for your new pet for almost a thousand hours. Have you decided on which one you want yet?”
“There are over a million males who are also ten living on Nolim,” said Koril without taking her eyes off the five monitors and her tapping. “Most of them I have rejected for one reason or another, but there are fifteen that I have decided would make a good pet for me.”
“Have you decided which one you want as a pet?” Cyton asked.
Koril stopped tapping and looked up at Cyton sadly. “That’s my problem. I haven’t, and I don’t think I ever will. Can I have all of them?”
Cyton smiled sheepishly. “You are lucky that you are getting one of them. All you need to do is select which one that you want.”
“I can’t decide on just one of them,” said Koril as she returned to her five monitors and control panel. “Can you help me to decide?”
“I’ve been thinking about that, and I think I can help you with that,” said Cyton. “We can bring them all on board our spaceship and you can get to know all of them. Then you can decide which one that you want as your pet.”
Cyton stood in front of the main monitor. He spoke with the well-dressed human on that monitor. “I am inviting all of you to visit our Collection of Animals.”
Pactric smiled sheepishly. “Everyone in this part of the galaxy knows about your Collection of Animals. You aren’t here to show us, anyone. You’re here to add to your collection.”
“We aren’t interested in you in that way,” said Cyton. “True, we were when we first got here but when we found out you were humans we decided against it.”
“Why do we being humans save us from being added to your collection?” Pactric asked.
Cyton looked very serious. “We don’t need any more humans. If you scan our ship you will see, we already have several hundred of them.”
Pactric shook his head slightly. “We have scanned your ship already, and we know just how many of us you have.”
“You are one of those planets that think you are the only humans in the universe. You’re not,” said Cyton. “The humans we have are from those other planets.”
“If you’re not here to collect us, then why are you here?” Pactric asked.
“We were about to leave when we had a problem with our engines. It can be fixed, but it’s going to take some time to do it. So, we decided that since we are stuck here we might as well invite you to see our Collection of Animals.”
Pactric sliced a finger across his neck. A few seconds later the monitor changed to an image of Nolim. Several minutes passed before the image of Pactric reappeared. “I can’t tell you how many of us will take you up on your invitation, but we will let the rest of Nolim know that they can visit you if they want to.”
The image of Pactric disappeared again. Cyton looked up at Koril, who looked like a cat without any whiskers or a tail, seated behind him. “Your new pet will be here in a few hours.”
Koril smiled, then quickly frowned. “How do you know all fifteen will come here?”
Cyton, who looked like a dog without a tail too, smiled back. “I can’t be sure about that, but there is a good chance they will be. After all, all young ones love looking at Collection of Animals.”
“What will Nolim do when one of their humans don’t return after his visit here?” Koril asked.
“That’s not a problem either,” said Cyton. “All we need to do is say that everyone returned and have images to prove it. Once back we don’t know what happened to him.”
Cyton continued a few seconds later. “We have done it before, and it worked. So, there is no reason why it won’t work this time too.”
Word Count = 1,991